On the Cover: Ford Limousine/Livery and SUV program’s Kim Johnston (left) and Craig Hall show off the latest body-style Expedition at the International Luxury Coach and Transportation (LCT) Show in March, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

As we go to print this month, there is a tremendous amount going on that is still up-in-the-air, that simply won’t be resolved for anywhere between a couple of weeks and a couple months. The most significant topics are:

  • The bills that New York’s City Council discussed in a hearing in late April, which are meant to level the playing field for the different segments of the industries regulated by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (assuming any of them become law)
  • And the fact that Uber, Lyft and Via launched a lawsuit against the TLC’s 25% WAV rule, just as the lawsuit from the FHV Industry Coalition was denied by a judge.

There was some solid good news: The TLC agreed to remove the “poison pill provision” from its 25% WAV rule, preventing the agency from being able to shut down the Coalition’s Central Dispatch Program (CDP) without just cause.

There were also three CDPs OK’d by the TLC: Carmel Car & Limousine, Lyft and Uber. I recommend you visit www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/industry/fhv_accessibility_pilot.shtml, and determine which program works best for your particular situation. My biggest concern is that the three CDPs could end up battling each other, and that businesses could be hurt financially as a “winner” is determined over the course of the next two years – so it’s essential that the segments of the industry work together to ensure the best possible solution. Otherwise, we will end up back at the TLC’s illogical and potentially devastating 25% WAV rule.

To get up-to-the-minute news on these (and all industry-related) topics, I encourage you to regularly check our website (www.blackcarnews.com), where we post news stories as they occur… and also “like” us on Facebook.

In the meantime, I’ve been meaning to mention the latest industry offering from Ford Motor Company, which I saw up close at the LCT Show this past March, the All-New Expedition SUV. SUVs have grown in popularity in recent years because of their durability and ability to comfortably seat more passengers than a typical sedan, and Ford’s new Expedition is well worth checking out.

Ford has long been a huge supporter of the FHV industry, with its Limousine/Livery and SUV program, and they are calling their new SUV “the smartest, most capable and most adaptable Expedition ever.” The vehicle features flexible seating and storage solutions, which include second-row tip-and-slide seating for easier access to the third row, as well as a host of cutting-edge technologies that keeps passengers connected and improve safety. An all-new, high-strength aluminum-alloy body and redesigned high-strength steel frame also mean greater durability.

On the safety side, the Expedition offers more than 40 features and driver-

assist technologies – including class-exclusive enhanced active park assist to easily pull in and out of parking spots, as well as available 360-degree camera technology to help drivers see more around their Expedition for easier parking. On the road, Expedition’s lane-keeping aid is designed to reduce unintentional “drifting” out of your intended lane, while adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go allows drivers to set a cruising speed, using radar and camera technology to monitor traffic to maintain a safe distance between vehicles. The collision avoidance detection system helps drivers avoid other vehicles or pedestrians, while available Blind Spot Information System helps monitor blind spots outside the driver’s immediate view.

Regarding connectivity and convenience, the Expedition offers wireless charging for devices, which allows drivers to place compatible mobile devices on a convenient, integrated charging pad in the front center console. The SUV’s Wi-Fi hotspot supports as many as 10 devices at once, up to 50 feet away from the vehicle. There are also four 12-volt power points, six USB chargers and a 110-volt power outlet that lets passengers stay charged and connected.

The Expedition’s roomy, flexible interior offers seating for up to eight people AND their gear. It’s the first full-size utility to feature a sliding second-row seat with tip-and-slide functionality, providing easy access and more legroom in the third row. Second- and third-row seats can be quickly folded flat with the push of a button to open up an exceptionally wide cargo area, even with the liftgate closed.

The all-new Expedition is available in XLT, Limited and Platinum series. In addition, an XL version is available for fleet customers.

As I mentioned above, please keep an eye out for updates and news at our website and Facebook pages, and until next month… I hope everyone enjoys the warmer weather.

Article by Neil Weiss

Neil Weiss is the Editor/Publisher/Owner of Black Car News and Livery Times. He has been involved in the ground transportation industry since 1991, writing thousands of articles on a wide variety of subjects.

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